These XR Glasses Prototypes Sold Me On Mixed Reality Gaming
I was skeptical to say the least about playing on XR glasses. I had questions swirling in my head about how I would use them, Why I would use them, and cynical responses to both.
But all these questions faded into the background when I had the chance to experience them myself. I had a few days to play with a prototype version of the Viture One XR glasses, a project funded on Kickstarter – and as wacky as the concept may seem, it Is work.
It’s not the future of gaming for everyone, but the bells of early VR were ringing in my head with the Viture One XR goggles. There’s a lot of work to be done on the prototype I tried out, but despite all my assumptions, they could be the first step into an exciting new category for games.
A giant screen, wherever you want
The Viture Ones give you the equivalent of a 120-inch screen, and while it doesn’t have the specs of one of the best VR headsets, it doesn’t need it. You get a pixel density of 55, a full 1080p signal running at 60 fps, and a peak brightness of 1,800 nits, according to Viture. Now, I couldn’t attach an luminance meter inside the frames to check 1,800 nits, but the screen was bright enough to fight even the direct sunlight pouring through my living room windows.
There’s a bit of blurring around the edge, but the screen looks great. It’s crisp and super responsive, and I was constantly drifting through a game or video every time I put the glasses on. Sure, you can see the surrounding room and it’s obvious you’re not looking at a physical screen, but I never struggled with absorbing what I was doing. I was drawn to the Viture Ones, which is shocking considering I normally wear glasses with a pretty heavy prescription.
The devil may cry 5 is what tipped me off. I played it on my Steam Deck, connected directly to the glasses via a USB-C cable, and felt like I was playing the game on a normal 60Hz screen. The devil may cry 5 is extremely fast and the Viture Ones held up exceptionally well. I also watched a few YouTube videos and a few Netflix on my couch, allowing me to lay back or rest my head while still having my media in the center of my field of vision.
Having a screen anywhere is a huge plus. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to awkwardly lower my head while playing a game or watching a movie when I wanted to rest and still see the screen, and it’s usually so uncomfortable that I just don’t do this. The Viture Ones overcome this problem unlike any device you can buy right now, at just 78 grams so it never feels heavy.
The experience at home is great, but I would really like to see the Viture Ones in action on an airplane. Sunglasses on a plane might seem silly, but I can’t stand looking at my phone to watch a movie or my Steam Deck to play a game on a flight. These glasses seem like a huge win if you travel a lot.
The Viture Ones may be a glimpse into the future of gaming, at least for enthusiasts like me who aren’t afraid to strap crazy tech to their faces. It’s a glimpse of the future, but we haven’t arrived yet.
All early prototypes come with a long list of issues, and Viture has sent a list of issues they know of and are working on for the glasses that will be shipping. I’m more focused on the hurdles that arise when designing a single product, and hope to see Viture address those issues before launching in a version two.
Above all, size is an issue. You are given three different sized nose pads, but none fit my (admittedly large) nose. Comfort isn’t the issue here either. If the glasses are not positioned correctly on your face, you cannot see the full screen. I know how awkward the glasses look on my face, but that was the only way to adjust them and still see the screen.
There’s a reason regular goggles have so many adjustment points, and it’s hard to have that flexibility with the amount of tech inside the Viture Ones. The ergonomics definitely need more adjustability and more flexibility for big heads.
The glasses themselves don’t have a lot of computing power. If you want to access the Android TV operating system, you will need to connect the glasses to the neckband. The strap is super comfortable and lightweight, and all of your controls are easy to access. Within hours I knew where everything was without a second thought.
The actual computing power sits inside the neckband and is actively cooled. The neckband heats up and you can hear a fan inside trying to keep everything cool with minimal ventilation. It’s not uncomfortable, but with the lackluster built-in speakers, it feels like the fan noise and the speakers are fighting each other.
I couldn’t try the optional mobile docking station, which is the third part of the Viture Ones. This dock is exclusively for the Switch and it connects directly to the console. It probably works as well as the Steam Deck, which is great, and Viture says it can even go from 720p at 30fps to 1080p. The company says 1080p at 60fps, but we’re talking Nintendo Switch here.
Race to the finish line
The Viture Ones are the first step in what could become a popular category over the next few years, especially as we see glasses like the Lenovo Glasses T1 start to appear.
There are a few usability hurdles to overcome, but Viture has clearly done a lot to release its first version from the get-go. The glasses work, and that’s about all I can ask for right now.